Then Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab. And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease. But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed. And when the messengers turned back unto him, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned back? And they said unto him, There came a man up to meet us, and said unto us, Go, turn again unto the king that sent you, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that thou sendest to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. ( 2 Kings 1;1-6)
First of all, we see that the Moabites rebelled. The gains given to Israel by the Davidic conquests, piece by piece were being dismantled. The vassal states, Ammon, Moab, Edom, and others conquered and subdued by David were able to break free from Israel’s grip, for the Kingdom was in deep decline.
Secondly, there is a parallel between the beginning of the book of first Kings and the opening of second Kings. Both feature a King in a sickbed. King David, is old and weak, and literally cannot warm himself. He is dying, and there is a struggle for his succession among his Sons.
lyBut 2 Kings begins with a bad injured King, Ahaziah, the son of Ahab and of Jezebel. He too is badly injured and in bed, dying. This time there is no struggle, instead he has settled on a coarse of action, to send messengers to Ekron, in the area of the Philistines, where there was a temple to Baalzebub, the Phoenician deity.
This is an illustration of the severe decline of Israel.
It is helpful to put things in perspective to understand this story in it’s larger conquest. The breakaway Kingdom of Israel, apostatized immediately under Jeroboam. He set up a State religion, and the two Altars of Golden calves in Dan and Bethel. But at least in name, Israel was offering worship to the right God, albeit in an idolatrous manner.But with Ahab and Jezebel, Israel was led even further away, into the worship of Jezebel’s gods, Baal and Ashterah. This is part of the meaning of the war on MT Carmel, in which baal was discreditted, his priests destroyed, and the nation backed away from complete Baalism. For the rest of his reign, Ahab tottered between Jaheweh, and his own self will.
Ahab’s son represents a new administration. From the very start, it was obvious He was all in for Baal.
For the King of Israel to consult with Baalzebub, literally the ” Lord of the flies”, was a direct affront to Jahweh, and proof that Ahaziah had received none of the lessons of his father’s life.
Viewed in this manner, the royal embassy sent to Ekron to consult “the fly god,” was really a challenge to Jehovah, whose prophet Elijah was in the land, and as such it must bring sharpest punishment to all involved in it. It was fitting, so to speak, that, in contrast to the messengers of the earthly king, Jehovah should commission His angel,* and through him bid His prophet defeat the object of Ahaziah’s mission.( Eidersheim, Old Testament History)
Ahaziah would not recover, he would never rise out the bed that he was confined to. Baalzebub could never help Him. But like His father, even to the end He wanted to prop Himself up and act as though he was in charge.So he sent out parties to arrest the Prophet Elijah. There was going to be another showdown on Mt Carmel. The nation would be given another demonstration of whose was the power and the glory.
Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down. And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty. Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly. And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty. ( 2 Kings 1:9-12)
aOnce again, fire came down from heaven, s answer to prayer, and verification of Elijah’s calling, in the sight of the apostate people.
When iniquity reaches it’s final apex, and the time comes for the final demonstration of Divine power to this apostate planet, this same manifestation will be granted to God’s two witnesses,
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. (Revelation 11:3-5)
,In the future, as in this story here, the answer is of necessity severe. God’s authority had been openly challenged by the King, there must come a public and absolute answer from on high. The 100 smoldering corpses lay on the ground, smoke rising from badly burned former soldiers, two companies worth.
And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight. Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight. And the angel of the Lord said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king. ( 2 Kings 1:13-15)
The third captain, takes a different approach than the defiance of the previous two. He now knew who God was, whose power he begged that he and his company be saved from.
Therefore Elijah came with Him to the sick and dying King.
The rest nis simply told. The arresting party arrived, with Elijah, who didn’t back down on his message to the King at all. to paraphrase,”You have worshipped the Lord the flies yet there is a God in Israel whom you have denied and disowned. You will die”
Ahaziah left no Son, so his brother Jehoram took his place, who was also the Son of Ahab and Jezebel.